Driving under the influence is one of the most common, yet misunderstood crimes in people’s understanding of the justice system. When people hear DUI, their minds usually go straight toward alcohol. One important thing to remember is that a DUI charge can result from not just alcohol, but also illicit drugs, or even prescription medications. If there is any foreign substance in a person’s body that makes it less safe for them to be driving, a DUI charge can follow.
Walton County DUI lawyers understand the various definitions of DUI in Georgia and work with potential clients to protect their liberty and driving privileges. If you are facing DUI charges, contact an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible.
Legal Definition of DUI in Georgia
Someone may be charged with DUI for :
- Being under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe to drive
- Being under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe to drive
- Being under the influence of any glue, aerosol, or any other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe to drive
- Being under the combined influence of items one through three to the extent that it is less safe to drive
- Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more at any time within three hours of driving
- Having any amount of marijuana in the person’s blood or urine
This is far more complicated than the usual example of the 0.08 percent BAC rule. While this is a standard used by law enforcement and courts to give a quantifiable amount to define drunk driving, in truth any amount of alcohol can impair a person’s ability.
What Role does Law Enforcement play?
Police may charge a person with DUI even if breath and blood test results indicate less than 0.08 percent BAC. Situations like these rely on the arresting officer’s subjective judgment, something far more fluid than a blood test. This certainly makes the prosecution’s case more difficult, but certainly not impossible. Walton County DUI lawyers have experience working with these sorts of cases to contest the officer’s observations.
Potential Penalties for Georgia DUI
A first or second offense is considered to be a misdemeanor, a third offense is considered to be a high and aggravated misdemeanor, while a fourth or subsequent offense is a felony.
For a first offense, a common result can be:
- A fine or no less than $300 but no more than $1,000
- Imprisonment for not less than 10 days or not more than 12 months; all but 24 hours may be suspended
- No less than 40 hours of community service
- Completion of a DUI risk reduction program
- A clinical evaluation for alcohol or drug dependency
- Probation for any part of 12 months not spent in jail
Hiring a Lawyer
It is important to note that many provisions, notably the jail time and fines, can be subject to suspension. Suspension means that under the right circumstances, the fine and imprisonment will be delayed during a term of probation. If the person remains out of trouble for the duration of the suspension, the fines and jail time are considered to be fulfilled. Whether this is a person’s first DUI charge or their fifth, skilled attorneys work with charged individuals toward the best possible outcome in their unique circumstances. This can involve working with the prosecutor toward an outcome that avoids jail time and fines, or taking the case to trial and contesting issues such as field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and blood work. Walton County DUI lawyers work with potential clients to build a defense tailored to their needs.